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The IT Consultant : A Commonsense Framework for Managing the Client Relationship

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Rick Freedman

"Few consultants fail for lack of technical expertise, many fail for lack of relationship skills. This unique book is the cure for that problem." (Dr. Peter C. Patton, Chief Technologist, Lawson Software)    "Freedman shares his trade … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Rick Freedman
Genre: Business & Investing
Publisher: Pfeiffer
1 review about The IT Consultant : A Commonsense Framework...

No Relationship...No Client

  • May 29, 2001
Rating:
+5
Actually, all of the sound advice in this book is relevant to almost any consulting relationship, both internally and externally. In this sense, the title is somewhat misleading. Freedman offers what the subtitle suggests is a "commonsense framework for managing the client relationship." He organizes his material within three Parts: The Profession of Consulting, The IT Consulting Framework, and Developing Superior Consulting Skills. The consulting profession has undergone all manner of changes in recent years, no doubt the result of many factors which include the increase of outsourcing, the recognition by many organizations of the need for engaging employees as specialists to address specific needs and interests, and also the emergence of what Daniel Pink describes as "free agents" in his recently published Free Agent Nation. As Freedman explains, his book is based on "a few fundamental beliefs": "informational technology consulting is a profession on a par with engineering and architecture...professional standards must be applied once a consultant has accepted a consulting engagement...advisory skills, which enable us to develop relationships of trust and confidence with out clients, are as important to our success as mastery of technical disciplines...[and finally that] there are proven practices and common sense techniques that help consultants deliver the benefit of information technology in a way that would be impossible without us." He examines with rigor various phases of the IT Consulting Framework. Along the way, he generously shares his own experiences (both good and bad) as he established and developed his own client relationships. His objective is to help his readers to understand proven practices that IT consultants can use to define their role in the engagement, and to understand m[as indeed they must] their clients' technical, organizational, and cultural environments.

One of the book's many value-added benefits is the provision of four Appendices: Sample Request for Proposal, Sample Proposal, Sample Communications Plan, and Sample Project Plan. Obviously, these are benchmark templates, each of which must be modified (perhaps significantly) to accommodate the specifics of a given situation. The chapters which precede them help the reader to make such modifications.

In the Conclusion, Freedman reaffirms that the book's aim is to prepare consultants, "through the use of a structured delivery system, to help clients obtain the results they expect and so have a better shot at generating the customer satisfaction that leads to referrals -- and ultimately to a thriving practice." I hasten to add that many organizations now have internal consultants for whom this book will also be immensely helpful. They, too, have several "clients" whose satisfaction with the quality of their work determines whether or not they will also have a "thriving practice" within their own organizations.

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